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Stalky & Co.


"Let us now praise famous men"--

Men of little showing--

For their work continueth,

And their work continueth,

Greater than their knowing.

Western wind and open surge

Tore us from our mothers;

Flung us on a naked shore

(Twelve bleak houses by the shore!

Seven summers by the shore!)

'Mid two hundred brothers.

There we met with famous men

Set in office o'er us.

And they beat on us with rods--

Faithfully with many rods--

Daily beat us on with rods--

For the love they bore us!

Out of Egypt unto Troy--

Over Himalaya--

Far and sure our bands have gone--

Hy-Brasil or Babylon,

Islands of the Southern Run,

And cities of Cathaia!

And we all praise famous men--

Ancients of the College;

For they taught us common sense---

Tried to teach us common sense--

Truth and God's Own Common Sense

Which is more than knowledge!

Each degree of Latitude

Strung about Creation

Seeth one (or more) of us,

(Of one muster all of us--

Of one master all of us--)

Keen in his vocation.

This we learned from famous men

Knowing not its uses

When they showed in daily work

Man must finish off his work--

Right or wrong, his daily work-

And without excuses.

Servants of the staff and chain,

Mine and fuse and grapnel--

Some before the face of Kings,

Stand before the face of Kings;

Bearing gifts to divers Kings--

Gifts of Case and Shrapnel.

This we learned from famous men

Teaching in our borders.

Who declare'd it was best,

Safest, easiest and best--

Expeditious, wise and best--

To obey your orders.

Some beneath the further stars

Bear the greater burden.

Set to serve the lands they rule,

(Save he serve no man may rule)

Serve and love the lands they rule;

Seeking praise nor guerdon.

This we learned from famous men

Knowing not we learned it.

Only, as the years went by--

Lonely, as the years went by--

Far from help as years went by

Plainer we discerned it.

Wherefore praise we famous men

From whose bays we borrow--

They that put aside Today--

All the joys of their Today--

And with toil of their Today

Bought for us Tomorrow!

Bless and praise we famous men

Men of little showing!

For their work continueth

And their work continueth

Broad and deep continueth

Great beyond their knowing!

--Rudyard Kipling; 1899

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